Master of Science (M.S.)

The Master of Science (M.S.) in chemical engineering will prepare you for non-academic research careers and is often used as a stepping stone to Ph.D. programs.

The M.S. is typically completed in two years and is a self-funded program. For some highly-qualified M.S. students, TA or RA positions may be available. There is an expectation that your research in this program will lead to a peer-reviewed publication. Throughout the M.S. program, you will develop and show progress toward initiative, originality, and creative ability.

Why earn an M.S. in chemical engineering at the Smith School?

Your graduate research degree will prepare you to make contributions to the field or continue on to a prestigious Ph.D. program—and you’ll be in good company as your complete your studies.

Not only are our chemical engineering faculty leading researchers and facilities continually improving with state-of-the-art upgrades and equipment, the culture of collegiality at the Smith School is unmatched. While you’re progressing toward your diploma, you’ll be surrounded by a community of scholars that is contributing to something greater and embracing the founding principles of Cornell University.

The graduate student experience reflects a thriving community among its student groups and initiatives; curriculum includes components of lab safety and research ethics; and faculty and research students are working toward ensuring that future CBE classes are composed of demographically diverse students through new programming. The Smith School’s community stands out as a differentiating factor—not only will you make significant contributions to the field, but you’ll be part of a group that is making a societal impact in more ways than one.

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M.S. degree requirements

The requirements for successful degree completion are flexible and you’ll be able to adjust your coursework and research to match your interest. You will be required to take graduate-level chemical engineering courses, work on original research, and complete a thesis or special project before you are eligible for graduation.

Some of the areas in which you can concentrate your studies and research are:

  • advanced materials processing
  • applied math and computational methods
  • biochemical engineering
  • chemical reaction engineering
  • classical and statistical thermodynamics
  • fluid dynamics, rheology, and biorheology
  • heat and mass transfer
  • kinetics and catalysis
  • polymers
  • surface science

Post-graduation paths

Students who graduate with an M.S. in chemical engineering typically enter into Ph.D. programs—many times at Cornell—or enter into industry roles.

Universities that recently accepted M.S. graduates into Ph.D. programs

  • Cornell University
  • Columbia University
  • Penn State University
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of Washington
  • The Ohio State University

Companies that recently employed M.S. graduates

  • Samsung
  • Inspire Energy
  • Gilead Sciences
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Genentech
  • Home Depot
  • Axium Nano
  • Corning
  • Saudi Aramco
  • SF Motors
  • Sinopec 

M.S. learning outcomes

1. Mastery and application of chemical engineering knowledge

  • Demonstration of an understanding of the core subjects in chemical engineering
  • Ability to apply core subjects to technological applications

2. Problem formulation, analysis, solution, and presentation of results

  • Ability to use appropriate chemical engineering techniques, tools, and methods to solve engineering problems in the context of courses and independent projects 
  • Apply those tools to the formulation, analysis, and solution of broadly defined problems
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate results

3. Communication of knowledge

  • Ability to describe effectively the formulation, analysis, and solution of specific problems in chemical engineering
  • Ability to explain the technological importance of the problems and the results obtained

4. Self-­directed learning and professional development

  • Demonstrate of the ability to assimilate information from multiple sources to solve original engineering problems of technological importance
  • Ability to work with fellow students in individual and team environments
  • An awareness of professional roles in chemical engineering practice
  • Understanding that involvement in the chemical engineering profession involves a commitment to lifelong learning and continuing development of skills and abilities